It’s Happening Over at Patreon

Things have been very quiet here for multiple reasons, but they will likely remain quiet for one reason: Patreon.

Most of my work will be done through Patreon, so while some announcements might come here, and I will post some of the content here, Patreon will remain my primary interface. Should I decide to shut down my Patreon – it’s motivating me to actually get work done, so that’s unlikely, even if it doesn’t rise above beer money – my primary focus will return to this website, but until then, please go follow me at my Patreon page.

Even if you don’t act as a patron, you can follow the feed and get most of the articles released, though a few days after they are available for paying patrons.

I hope I’ll see you there.

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Sales for 2019

This post was originally presented on my Patreon.

So, it’s been awhile and I have been very bad about releasing sales data. To be honest, not sure if anyone is actually finding this useful. If you do, please let me know. I’m happy to do this, but I’d rather not be shouting into the wind.

So here we go – nothing too special and not really any messages in the numbers other than “this is what a pretty normal quarter looks like for SEP.” I’ll post later about he different venues and types (PDF vs. print).

The one important thing to note about 2019 is that it was a year without high-profile projects. For SEP, a high-profile project is one for which I run a Kickstarter. Kickstarters not only help fund larger projects for which I need assistance (like editing, art, layout, or sensitivity consultation), but also provide exposure to SEP to people who otherwise might not find it. This usually leads to a spike in sales.

While that spike is welcome, it doesn’t balance out the effort for  and stress of a Kickstarter.

It also important to note that a lot of the effort that usually goes into monthly releases was focused on Sagas of the Sea Peoples and its Quickstart. I’m not including data on free products because they really don’t provide any useful information–at least not for SEP–but the Quickstart saw about 400 downloads.

These numbers, then, are a pretty basic  year. And the numbers over the years have remained pretty consistent per title, which means an increase  in revenue is really only facilitated by releasing more products, which my Patreon helps me do through motivating me to produce something almost every month.

Without further ado, the numbers for 2019

Sales for 2019
(Second to Fourth Quarter in Parantheses)
All sales venues

Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day, 4 (2)
Khorforjan Gambit, 4 (2)
Qalashar Device, 4 (2)
Raid On Ashkashem, 5 (3)

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms, 4 (4)
For Simple Coin, 6 (4)
Gifts of the Elder Gods, 2 (2)

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section, 2 (1)
Covert Forces Redux, 3 (2)
In Her Majesty’s Service, 3 (2)

Fifth Edition
Abyss of the Black Cloud [released Sep 2019], 3 (3)
Abyss of the Crimson Cave [released Aug 2019], 5 (5)
Cult of the Abyss [released Jul 2019], 9 (9)

Other
Centurion: Legionaries of Rome, 8 (5)
Daughter of the Sun: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 4 (4)
HeadCrushers [released Jan 2019], 6 (4)
Hispania Ulterior Motive: A Centurion Adventure, 6 (5)
Judged: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 4 (4)
Nefertiti Overdrive, 17 (8)
Questions of Loyalty: A Centurion Adventure [released Oct 2019], 8 (8)
Starship Commandos, 5 (4)
The Wall, 6 (1)

Sword’s Edge Systems
Crossing the Millers: A Sword Noir Adventure, 4 (3)
Face ‘Splosion: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 3 (2)
For A Few Swords More: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 3 (1)
HardCASE: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 6 (4)
Kheufer Scrolls: A Sword Noir Adventure, 5 (4)
Kiss My Axe, 10 (8)
Lawless Heaven: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 3 (2)
Six Stood Alone: A Sword’s Edge Adventure [released Feb 2019], 6 (5)
Suffer the Witch, A Kiss My Axe Adventure, 3 (3)
Sword Noir, 22 (11)
Sword’s Edge, 12 (8)

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Red Danube: An Adventure for Centurion

It’s 271 of the Common Era, and the soldier Aurelian has defeated a host of rivals to become Lucius Domitius Aurelianus Augustus, the ruler of Rome. He faces a shattered empire, and marches on rebel Palmyra. But first he faces an army of the Goths, and their king, Cannabas.

Your characters are scouts and spies, forward elements of the Emperor Aurelian’s army during the Crisis of the Third Century. Aurelian has already taken the first steps to restore the world, but the obstacles before him are vast. You have crossed the Danube to hunt down the Gothic king Cannabas’ stronghold. Alone in enemy territory, your failure could doom the future of the empire.

No problem. You’ve come, now it’s time to see, and later conquer.

Red Danube: An Adventure for Centurion will be May’s release from my Patreon.

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Directorate 7: Warmonger

In case you weren’t following it, Sagas of the Sea Peoples failed to fund. My Patreon is ongoing, and I’m going to be posting the various possible projects here for reference.

The first is the project due in April: Directorate 7: Warmonger

Directorate 7 is the government’s expendable solution to the most dangerous of problems. It offers a simple deal with people that have done wrong: make the world better and we can make your life better. Cross us, and you die.

WARMONGER

When reliable intelligence indicates that an arms dealer has access to a strategic weapons system and is ready to sell it, Directorate 7 recruits a contact team to recover the system by any means necessary. The stakes are high, but for those doing the deal, the payoff is even higher, and they aren’t the only pieces on the board ready to kill for what they want.

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Sagas of the Sea Peoples

This is definitely not the best place to find news of my undertakings (that would by my Patreon) but just in case you are following this site hoping for news, you might not realize that the Kickstarter for Sagas of the Sea Peoples is happening right now.

The Kickstarter will run until 29 February 2020, so if you’ve got the money, head on over and help me make something awesome.

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Sagas of the Sea Peoples Quickstart

The climate is changing, causing droughts and famines. Natural disasters limit the ability of governments to respond. Those governments are involved in wars that are bankrupting them. The global trade network has collapsed. And all this has created waves of migration, which governments are characterizing as ravening hordes, coming to destroy civilization.

Welcome to the Late Bronze Age Collapse.

It’s the turn of the eleventh century BCE in the Mediterranean. The kingdoms of the Achaean Greeks, the empire of the Hittites, the trade centre of Troy, and the powerful city-states that line the coast have fallen. Egypt faces ruin. The world, as you know it, is ending.

You are one of many who have fled your homeland, finding a community among those we now call the Sea Peoples. How will you survive as order and government collapse? How will your protect your community—your friends and your family—in these most unstable times? When will you ever find peace?

Sagas of the Sea Peoples is a tabletop role-playing game set in the Late Bronze Age Collapse. The characters are leaders of the Sea Peoples, seeking better lives, struggling against innumerable enemies, and facing the fall of the civilizations in which they were born. It will be crowd-funded on Kickstarter in early 2020, and has been released only through my Patreon. This Quickstart is intended to give a glimpse of the system and the setting.

You can find the Sagas of the Sea Peoples Quickstart Edition at itchio.

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Sagas of the Sea Peoples: Introduction Preview

This post was original presented at My Patreon on 16 Aug 2019.

While the research for Sagas of the Sea Peoples continues, I have begun writing the game itself. I wanted to share the introduction with you, in which I try to encapsulate the aesthetic of the game.  

The stories of the Sea Peoples are heroic tales of the Bronze Age untold by the conquerors. These are chronicles of trade, raids, and migration. Your characters are destined to become great leaders of warrior cultures, but the warrior ethos to which many cling may be a hindrance to success even as it is gains one prestige among one’s people.

Welcome to the Late Bronze Age. Iron is on its way but hasn’t made its full impact on cultures, and many of the dominant polities of southwest Asia and the east Mediterranean Sea coast have collapsed or have seen their power and prestige decline. Economic turmoil and war have created a churn of disarray, leading to suffering and desperation.

In the middle of all this are the Sea Peoples. Led by Mycenaean migrants and joined by the dislocated from around the Aegean Sea and beyond, these groups are seen as pirates, raiders, and barbarian invaders by what remains of the great powers – the Hittites, the Levant city-states, and the Egyptians. There are certainly those among them who have profited from the vast ungoverned space of the Mediterranean and its shores, but there are many more pursuing a better life for their families, seeking opportunities and freedom from oppressive hierarchies.

The characters in Sagas of the Sea Peoples have been pushed to the periphery, and now they have decided it is time to push back. Better to die on your feet than on your knees. They pose a threat to the status quo because they are the other – the outsider and the barbarian. They represent something different, something that is motivating change, and the elites do not like change. While belonging to an egalitarian society which struggles with a conservative need to rebuild the structures of the past, the characters seek to overturn the status quo and avoid a return to the hierarchies that destroyed their society. They cannot escape violence – who in this world can? – but they are special because they have recognized the trap of the warrior ethos and they are seeking something else, something that will preserve their lives, their families, and their peoples.

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It Came From The Sea! Crunching the Numbers

This post was original presented at my Patreon on 6 Aug 2019.

I’ve embarked on writing for Saga of the Sea Peoples, (which you can follow at my Patreon) and in doing so, I’ve started to consider the costs that would be associated with bringing it to actual fruition, meaning distributing it beyond Patreon. The costs for doing a print product – something more than 100 pages – are pretty prohibitive. A ballpark estimate puts the Kickstarter goal at about US $11,500. My biggest success for Kickstarter was Centurion: Legionaries of Rome which brought in around $5,900 USD. Nefertiti Overdrive only brought in about $4,900 CAD, which was about $3,800 USD.

It’s possible to produce a 125 page book without editing or certain sections I’d like to include – such as considering migration and integration in the context of the Sea People – and using stock art. That goal would be about $3,000 USD so a Kickstarter goal of $4,450 CAD . . . or, to be more careful, $5,000 CAD.

A PDF-only product, substantially shorter, and using stock art, would have a goal of $4,500 CAD. That means I would need 350 backers at $13.50 CAD (around $10 USD) a pop to hit that target. Were I to do the base minimum – editing, consultation, extra sections, and more art as stretch goals – I could set the goal at $2,000 USD, meaning I would need about 150 backers.

Centurion only had 180 backers, Nefertiti Overdrive had 302 backers, and Sword’s Edge had 144 backers. So far, it looks on the edge of do-able, but with definite failure potential. Failure is fine – it means the market isn’t interested and if I want to pursue it, it would be on my own dime with minimal expectation for sales.

One thing I learned from the Centurion vs. Nefertiti Overdrive Kickstarters was the value of high ticket pledge levels. Something like creating one of the iconic characters for the game or being a model for a piece of art can support a pretty heft price tag, but does it help?. For the art, I would have to actually increase the goal of the Kickstarter to compensate for the added cost – three openings for modelling for art would increase the cost by almost $600 CAD while bringing in a maximum of $750. That’s about eight extra backers, so there is some potential but it’s not significant.

In the end, I’m going to push forward with the writing, and can promise you the rules portion. There’ll be some historical discussion thrown in there, and I’m continuing to research the era and the Sea Peoples, as it has turned out to be fascinating, but I won’t have a “history” section per se unless I’m able to finance this some other way. Kickstarter looks like a possibility, but it needs more analysis and consideration.

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Abyss of the Crimson Caves, a Fifth Edition Adventure

Sword’s Edge Publishing has released its second of three Fifth Edition adventures, this a sequel to Cult of the Abyss.

A minor cult following an obscure myth is seeking artifacts and using ensorcelled children to do their digging. The Crimson Caves hide more than simply this, as the cult is building an army for the day when their deity is released. It’s up to a band of adventurers to free the children and foil the cult in this dungeon crawl for Fifth Edition.

Abyss of the Crimson Caves is an adventure for 3-5 player characters of levels 5-7, though it best played with 4 PCs of level 6.

The format of this adventure has the monsters listed without further information in the room description, with the monster’s information blocks at the back of the PDF in the order in which they appear. A separate file is included with the monsters information provided in the order in which they appear so that it can be referenced while playing.

This adventure and the earlier Cult of the Abyss is already in the hands of my Patreon backers, as is the following one. If you like the kinds of products SEP releases, you might want to back the Patreon to get them first and usually cheaper.

Abyss of the Crimson Caves is available now at Drive Thru RPG.

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Sales for First Quarter 2019

Here we are, well into 2019, and I’m just getting the first selection of sales data posted. The first quarter of 2019 was pretty standard. I have been slower to set up for sale items developed for Patreon, but most of them will get to sales venues. Numbers and regular releases are important for sales, and that was one of the reasons I set up my Patreon, to motivate me to get stuff into a sell-able format. So far, that’s worked relatively well.

So here we go – nothing too special and not really any messages in the numbers other than “this is what a pretty normal quarter looks like for SEP.”

Sales for First Quarter 2019 (Jan to Mar)
All sales venues

Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day, 2
Khorforjan Gambit, 2
Qalashar Device, 2
Raid On Ashkashem, 2

Arcane Kingdoms
For Simple Coin, 2

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section, 1
Covert Forces Redux, 1
In Her Majesty’s Service, 1

Other
Centurion, 3
HeadCrushers, 2
Hispania Ulterior Motive: A Centurion Adventure, 1
Judged: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure,
Nefertiti Overdrive, 9
Starship Commandos, 1
The Wall, 5

Sword’s Edge Systems
Crossing the Millers: A Sword Noir Adventure, 1
Face ‘Splosion: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 1
For A Few Swords More: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 2
HardCASE: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 2
Kheufer Scrolls: A Sword Noir Adventure, 1
Kiss My Axe, 2
Lawless Heaven: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 1
Six Stood Alone: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 1
Sword Noir, 11
Sword’s Edge, 4

Total Sales to Date
Albenistan
Albenistan: Election Day (Modern Dispatch 113), 50
Khorforjan Gambit, 132
Qalashar Device, 146
Raid On Ashkashem, 192

Arcane Kingdoms
Arcane Kingdoms, 78
For Simple Coin, 13
Gifts of the Elder Gods, 46

Covert Forces
Canada’s Combined Security Reconnaissance Section, 121
Covert Forces, 100
Covert Forces Redux, 196
In Her Majesty’s Service, 167

Other
The Boltcutter, 5
Centurion, 238
Cyber-state Avatar Toolkit, 47
Daughter of the Sun: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 4
HeadCrushers, 7
Hispania Ulterior Motive: A Centurion Adventure, 5
Judged: A Nefertiti Overdrive Adventure, 19
Line Zero, 41
Nefertiti Overdrive, 178
Starship Commandos, 66
The Wall, 29

Sword’s Edge System
Crossing the Millers: A Sword Noir Adventure, 178
Face ‘Splosion: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 22
For A Few Swords More: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 20
HardCASE: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 14
Kheufer Scrolls: A Sword Noir Adventure, 224
Kiss My Axe, 275
Lawless Heaven: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 20
Six Stood Alone: A Sword’s Edge Adventure, 1
Suffer the Witch, 104
Sword Noir, 778
Sword’s Edge, 55

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Cult of the Abyss, a Fifth Edition Adventure

Sword’s Edge Publishing has released its first Fifth Edition adventure: Cult of the Abyss

Young Prince Erd has been kidnapped along with some other children from a village. An observant hunter told the Royal Guard of seeing a handful of armed men leading a small group of children into the Red Valley. The characters are sent to retrieve the prince and rescue the children. Easier said than done as the characters find themselves facing off against a strange cult in this dungeon crawl for Fifth Edition.

Cult of the Abyss is an adventure for 3-5 player characters of levels 5-7, though it best played with 4 PCs of level 6.

The format of this adventure has the monsters listed without further information in the room description, with the monsters’ information blocks at the back of the PDF in the order in which they appear. A separate file is included with the monsters information provided in the order in which they appear so that it can be referenced while playing.

This adventure is already in the hands of my Patreon backers, as are its two sequels. Those sequels will likely get a release in the following months, but if you like the kinds of products SEP releases, you might want to back the Patreon to get them first and usually cheaper.

Cult of the Abyss is available now at Drive Thru RPG.

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